Tabakalera is a former tobacco factory that was converted into a contemporary culture centre. Located in the Egia district, the building is an impressive space (13,277m2) that organises, since 2007, a wide sort of activities (exhibitions, short film screenings, etc.). Tabakalera programmes are mostly free and the funding is mostly public (30% comes from the municipality).
By the time of opening this public space, it became clear that people were looking forward to use and engage the open spaces envisaged in the building: especially young people in rainy days. The center has been adapting its activities and spaces to these non-planned use from families, youth, etc.
At some point, the centre identified a group of mainly youth male migrants who were used to spend long time at the centre, not always behaving correctly (security concerns, drugs, etc.). After discussing with them about their needs and aims, Tabakalera decided to open a programme to support them through cultural activities. A first project involved photography, and the initiative was really welcomed. Since then, the project has grown to the point of holding weekly meetings (every Friday with a mediator), during which the group has been, for example, creating music together or preparing artistic performances. The 2018 project has been a theatre play, and a group of around 25 people are participating, using the Theatre of the Oppressed as a working methodology.
Most of these young people are unaccompanied migrants, and live in precarious situation: Tabakalera has become a place in which they feel welcome and can explore different ways to express themselves.